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Groove Armada’s new era: “We’re happy being house DJs now”

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So I guess you saw all those changes coming.

You’ve just got to be realistic about it. You’ve gotta either radically change your style and the way you put your gig across, and just go for that because you see it coming. Otherwise, you go for a complete change in direction. I don’t think either of us wanted to start writing consciously commercial dance stuff for the band to perform, we didn’t think that was necessarily fair. 

Was it ever considered?

Not really. I think we were really proud of the last record we made, and proud of the songwriting at the heart of that. And we did our best, we would always do our best to take a song and adapt it as effectively as possible for a live environment. You’re conscious of the fact that when you go up on a stage, you need to amplify everything, make the drops clearer… But we didn’t think we could change the fundamental nature of the music we wanted to write. So what we did was move onto something completely different, just making house records and DJing, and adding a little bit to that show where we have our own visual setup, controlling the lighting and lasers. But I don’t think we could have ‘reimagined’ the songwriting behind the band to that extent.

You’ve just gotta make a decision about the kind of life you want to lead. I feel really natural sitting down and writing house records now, I like doing it. And I like the scaled-back approach of playing DJ sets. We had some really great live experiences, but I don’t think they necessarily get better the longer you do them. So we had an amazing time with that, but now we’re doing warehouse parties, and focusing on being residents at We Love… Space and that’s really fun. We’re lucky to come around to a moment were we’ve decided to become a little more rootsy.

So the fact you’ve gone back to being DJs, would you say that represents you embracing your house music roots to a degree?

You’re inevitably a product of your time. I think if we kept trying to keep that high-energy thing going, to keep that big tour machine going… Where we are now, making house music from time to time and taking life a little it easier. It’s pretty cool actually and I’m quite enjoying it.

So what’s exciting you guys in house music at the moment?

There are some really good labels, a lot of really good UK house music at the moment that I’m loving. I’ve got a huge amount of respect for acts like Dusky and George Fitzgerald, it’s house music that is quite musical, but also still pretty visceral. Labels like Aus Music are really inspiring me to write music at the moment. I used to find it really hard to find music that I was excited about playing, but at the moment I’m feeling overwhelmed by the amount of good music.

Are we going to see another Groove Armada album at some stage?

I think at the moment, the change that we’ve gone through from being this kind of stadium-ish, charting act, to where we are now, you can’t change those perceptions overnight. It’s only really been two years since we stopped doing that, and we’re feeling now people are gradually getting their heads around us being house DJs and playing clubs a little bit more. So I think we’ll keep doing this for a while, and then there will be a desire at some point to try and write an album. And then we might see if there’s any interest in people seeing the band play live again in a couple of years time. I think for every new career phase, you need to give it time to breathe and develop. I think if we just went back to writing an album and touring it, it would be a bit self-defeating.

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